JOPLIN, Mo. — In Joplin, families came together to remember loved ones. It’s the annual “Celebration of Life,” organized by Freeman Health System, Mercy Hospital Joplin, Midwest Transplant Network and Saving Sight – it honors organ and tissue donors and recipients.
“He was a welder, he traveled from coast to coast, he was a family person. Family was very important to Jeremiah,” said Vickie Broadwell, Jeremiah’s Mother.
Jeremiah Broadwell was 31-years-old when he died in 2009.
“A week before Jeremiah passed away we had seen a commercial about donating organs. He said ‘Mom if anything happens to me I would like for you to donate my organs.’ Little did I know his big heart would come into play again so soon. He was able to save two peoples lives,” she continued.
Jeremiah’s family remembers him by sharing his story and donating to two local charities on his birthday.
“Look at the next person standing beside you they could be a recipient. You never know from day to day what might happen or who might need you,” said Arra Whittley, Jeremiah’s Aunt.
Jeremiah’s gift of life helped people like Rohen — who needed a heart transplant before his second birthday.
“Rohen was born with a very serious heart defect called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, which is typically can be repaired, he didn’t do well with it,” said Amanda Reeves, Rohen’s mom.
Rohen is now six and his mother is grateful for the precious gift.
“He is excelling in school and he is catching up really fast with his peers,” Amanda said.
According to the Midwest Transplant Network — one organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue and eye donor can help 150 people.
“Saving lives and transforming lives and not only theirs but the lives of their families friends and colleagues in the future. Just a day to celebrate and remember them,” said Cathy Lucchi, Hospital Services Coordinator for Midwest Transplant Network.
Right now there are more than 100,000 people on the transplant list.
You can register to be an organ donor at your local DMV or by following this link here.